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Bronco Mendenhall leaving BYU to become Virginia head coach

This is a surprise!

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia has hired BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall to replace Mike London, the school announced Friday. The news comes as a significant shock. A few names had been mentioned as potential replacements for London, including Cal HC Sonny Dykes and former Rutgers HC Greg Schiano, but Mendenhall has no apparent ties to the region or the East Coast in general.

The move comes directly after two other high-profile hirings in the division. Miami hired former Georgia HC Mark Richt, while Virginia Tech hired Memphis HC Justin Fuente. That gives the Virginia-Virginia Tech game some extra flavor, as Mendenhall's BYU and Fuente's Memphis brawled at the Miami Beach Bowl in 2014.

Mendenhall has signed a five-year contract starting at $3.25 million per year, according to the release. In 11 seasons with the Cougars, Mendenhall posted a 99-42 record.

A Utah native, Mendenhall played defensive back at Oregon State from 1986-87 after two years in junior college. After bouncing around the staffs at Oregon State, Northern Arizona and Louisiana Tech, he landed his first consistent gig in 1998 as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at New Mexico. Mendenhall stayed there through 2002, eventually being promoted to assistant head coach, before being hired as BYU's defensive coordinator in 2003.

Mendenhall was named BYU's head coach prior to the 2005 season, following Gary Crowton's third straight losing season at the helm of the program, and he's held the job ever since. In his 10 years as head coach of BYU entering this season, the Cougars made 10 bowl games, with nine winning seasons and a 6-6 mark in his first year on the job. BYU finished ranked in four straight seasons -- 2006-09 -- but have not finished in the AP Top 25 since.

The Cougars won two Mountain West titles during Mendenhall's tenure with the school, but left the conference to become an independent after the 2010 season.

For more on the Cougars, head to Vanquish the Foe. For more on the Cavaliers, check out Streaking the Lawn.

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